24 June 2010

The Lung Vac

Seems like I've had a flurry of doctor appointments lately. Two weeks ago, I checked in with the rehab medicine guy. Since I was whining about being short of breath, he referred me to a guy in the pulmonary clinic. I expected it would be a total waste of everybody's time; they would listen to my chest, decide I didn't have pneumonia or asthma, and send me on my way. The rehab guy allowed as how that might be the case, but said he was referring me to somebody with a particular interest in neuromuscular disorders. I was pretty sure they wouldn't find anything wrong, and if they did, there wouldn't be anything they could do about it. But I went.

So last week I show up at the pulmonary clinic. After some puffing and blowing, they tell me my lung capacity is about 50% of normal, and ask if I have any trouble coughing. Well, yeah, as it happens, I do. Giving in to my penchant for overstatement (hyperbole is the best thing ever!), I tell them I'm afraid if I ever get a respiratory infection, I'm toast. So they make me an appointment with a respiratory therapist.

So on Monday I see the respiratory therapist. After some more puffing and blowing, he tells me if I ever get a respiratory infection, I'm toast. Somehow it's more disquieting, coming from him. He gives me a thing that looks like a purple balloon with a hose, and takes Scarecrow and me through some exercises that he describes as range of motion for the lungs. Then he pulls up a machine that is basically a vacuum cleaner with a mask attached. It blows air into your lungs, then sucks it out. It feels... weird. It sounds like, well, like a vacuum cleaner.

The dogs are going to hate this.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be curious to hear what you think of the lung exercises down the road. Breathing is one of my challenges yet my last PFT about four months ago was normal. So, the doc (at Mayo) and I were speculating about diaphragm things.

    Hope the exercises and vacuuming is helpful.